To most of you, this list is going to come across as super bitchy and horrible, to the rest of you it’s going to be a prolonged moment of “Oh my god yes, I fucking hate that!”
1. Oh my god, did you draw that?
This is not an acceptable question to ask someone you see drawing, especially not if they are actively working on the project when you ask. Depending on how many times the person in question has previously been addressed this way, the answer you receive could range anywhere from a polite “yes,” to an extremely sarcastic “No, holy shit where the fuck did this sketchbook come from?”
I feel as though, on some underlying level, the popularity of the question “Did you draw that?” has sprung from the belief that to be an artist you have to be visibly strange. Artists are not unicorns. We’re not mythical beasts that only come out on the equinox once every century, cloaked in moon dust and carting gilded paintbrushes. Artists are everywhere, in every shape and size, at every skill level.
It’s lovely to be complimented on your work, but being faced with utter disbelief that you could create something isn’t high up on Dr. Feelgood’s recommendations for healthy living.
The next time you see an artist working in public and you’re blown away by what they’re doing, try to come up with something to say other than “Did you draw that?”
2. Brb giving up art forever/burning everything I’ve ever drawn/killing myself.
This is something that many of my fellow artists are guilty of. No matter what you think, this is not an acceptable form of flattery. On the occasion that this happens to me I actually feel really horrible about it. No artist wants to hear that they’ve discouraged another person by doing what they love.
It’s really quite heartbreaking to see someone say that they aren’t proud of their abilities. There is always going to be someone out there who’s better than you. If you let that affect you in any way it should be as encouragement and incentive to practice, not a reason to give up.
Everyone who enjoys creating something, who finds an outlet with a pen or a tablet or words or scissors or a brush, can call themselves artists. There is no limit on creativity or its outlets and nothing qualifies who gets to create.
3. No one is this talented.
Well, obviously, some people are. You’re not complimenting them by saying they can’t possibly have made something that they clearly poured time and talent into. I know graphic artists who deal in realism that get this one a lot. It’s insulting and degrading and don’t fucking say it. Yeah?
4. Can you draw me/this/that other thing for me?
If someone has a talent or skill they choose to share with you, that does not mean you own a piece of them. That does not mean they have an obligation to provide something for you. They create because they enjoy it, because it keeps them alive in some way. Not for your entertainment.
Most of the time when people ask the artists I know for something, they don’t even know the artist. Seeing something you like does not mean you need to latch onto the artist and attempt to bleed them dry.
5. Can you teach me to draw?
It’s cool that you think highly enough of someone’s talent/skill that you want them to share it with you. It’s cool that you want to draw. Most times the answer will be no. Don’t get upset about it, it’s not going to change anything. The majority of artists got to their varying skill levels due to practice, years and years of practice.
It’s not something that can be taught in a day, and even if it were, that doesn’t mean someone is automatically equipped to teach you in a way you will understand. Please do not blow up at someone if they refuse to teach you, it’s most likely not them being a jerk. It’s just not something that can be taught.
6. Your commission prices are too high.
The prices of art are based on a great many things. The size, the amount of medium used, the time it took to make. Mostly though, the price of art is determined by the artist. You don’t have to agree with their pricing, you don’t have to buy their art. Most importantly, you don’t have to insult them and tell them what they’ve made isn’t worth what they deem it to be worth.
“I can’t draw”, “I’m awful”, etc. get on my nerves the most.
What am I even supposed to say to that? Honestly, I’d rather take a “that’s nice” and be on my way.
On the other hand, I had this one friend in art class the other day who stood over my shoulder and pointed out little details I had missed. Which I loved her for. It was really helpful.